Geopolitical zones in Nigeria and their states: All the details

Geopolitical zones in Nigeria and their states: All the details

The Federal Republic of Nigeria is divided into six regions, commonly referred to as geopolitical zones. These administrative regions were created during president General Sani Abacha's regime. The 6 geopolitical zones and their states form the basis for the distribution of economic, educational, and political resources among Nigerians. The six geopolitical zones in Nigeria are not entirely based on geographic location but more on regions with similar ethnic compositions.

six geopolitical zones in Nigeria and their states
Colours of the Nigerian flag. Photo:, @Kaufdex
Source: UGC

Nigeria's states are spread across six geopolitical zones, with some having more states than others. Additionally, the regions have varying economic, political, strategic, and governance structures. We look at the six geopolitical zones and their states.

What are the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria?

Here is a look at the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria and their states.


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The North-East region is among the largest geopolitical zones in Nigeria in terms of physical size and population. The region covers nearly a third of the entire Nigerian landmass. This zone has two major ecological regions, the tropical savanna in the west and the semi-desert ecological region in the east.

Population-wise, the North-East region has about 26 million people, which is about 12% of the entire Nigerian population. The region's most populous cities are Bauchi and Maiduguri. They are the 17th and 15th most populous Nigerian cities.

Here is a look at the states under the North-East region.

  • Adamawa
  • Bauchi
  • Borno
  • Gombe
  • Taraba
  • Yobe


The North-West region, as its name suggests, is located in northwest Nigeria. It is among the largest largest geographical zones in Nigeria and is primarily comprised of the savanna ecological region. Much of the region is in Hausaland, which is the indigenous homeland of the Hausa people. The Hausa make up the largest ethnic group in northwest Nigeria. Still, there are a few residents from the Fulani minority.

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Economy-wise, the North-West zone is home to Kano City, which is a major contributor to Nigeria's economy. Still, most of the region's rural areas lag in terms of resource allocation, literacy levels, and security.

This zone is home to a whopping 49 million people, accounting for about 23% of the country's population. Besides Kano, some of the zone's other populous cities include Sokoto, Zaria, and Kaduna. Here are the states in the North-West region.

  • Zamfara
  • Sokoto
  • Kebbi
  • Katsina
  • Kano
  • Kaduna
  • Jigawa

North Central (Middle Belt)

the six geopolitical zones and their states
Jos City in Nigeria. Photo:, @Disrupt Africa
Source: UGC

The Middle Belt Zone is home to Nigeria's Federal Capital Territory. This zone stretches across the country's width, from its border with Benin to where it borders Cameroon. The region's primary ecological zone is the Guinean forest-savanna mosaic, with a small western portion falling in the savanna ecoregion.

This zone is home to about 20 million people, comprising around 11% of the country's total population. Abuja, the country's capital, is the largest city in this zone. The populous cities of Jos and Ilorin are also part of the Middle Belt. Here are the states in this zone.

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  • Plateau
  • Niger
  • Nasarawa
  • Kwara
  • Kogi
  • Federal Capital Territory
  • Benue


The South-East region is bounded by the Cross River to the east, the flat North Central to the north, the riverine Niger Delta to the south, and the river Niger to the west. The main ecological regions include the forest-savanna mosaic in the north and the tropical forest to the south.

Culturally, the South-East region falls within the indigenous homeland of the Igbo people, often known as Igboland. The Igbo people comprise the largest ethnic group in southeast Nigeria, accounting for close to 90% of the region's population.

While this region is the smallest in terms of landmass, it is among the largest contributors to the country's economy. The region is endowed with vast natural gas and oil reserves, as well as a remarkably industrialized economy.

The South-East region is home to 22 million people, roughly 10% of the country's population. The two most populous cities in this region are Enugu and Aba, other significant ones being Owerri, Umuahia, Onitsha, and Nnewi.

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The region has five states. Here is a quick look.

  • Imo
  • Enugu
  • Ebonyi
  • Anambra
  • Abia

South-South (Niger Delta)

6 geo-political zones and their states
Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta Zone. Photo: @City News Port Harcourt
Source: Facebook

The Niger Delta region stretches across the Atlantic seaboard from the Bight of Bonny coast in the east all the way to the Bight of Benin coast in the west. This region is crucial for the country's economic development, given the numerous natural resources found in its waters and soil.

Geographically, this region occupies a mere 5% of the country's landmass. Still, it is home to some of Nigeria's largest oil and natural gas deposits. The zone has a population of 26 million, accounting for about 12% of the country's population.

The Greater Port Harcourt is the region's largest metropolitan area, with other significant ones being Ikom Warri, Sapele, Ikot, and Ughelli. Here are the states in this region.

  • Rivers
  • Edo
  • Delta
  • Cross River
  • Bayelsa
  • Akwa Ibom


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The South-West region stretches along the Atlantic seaboard from the Niger Delta Zone in the east to the border with the Benin Republic in the west. The main ecological regions in this zone include the mangrove forests in the east and the south and the forest-savanna in the northwest.

Culturally, much of the South-West region falls in the indigenous Yorubaland. The Yoruba people are the largest ethnic group in the country's southwest. The region is home to the incredibly populous cities of Ibadan and Lagos, making it one of the busiest zones in terms of economic activity.

The South-West Zone is the second most populous of all Nigeria's geopolitical zones. It is home to 47 million people, accounting for close to 22% of the country's population. The Lagos Metropolis Area found in this zone is the world's eighth-largest metropolitan area, with about 21 million people. Other large towns and cities include Ado Ekiti, Akure, Ikorodu, and Oyo.

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  • Oyo
  • Osun
  • Ondo
  • Ogun
  • Lagos
  • Ekiti

What is the number of states in the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria?

There are 36 states spread across the six geopolitical zones.

The various geopolitical zones in Nigeria serve an essential purpose in ensuring the equitable distribution of resources among the country's populace. These zones vary in size, population, economic activity, and ecoregions.

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